Spades (suit)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native nameFrench: Pique
DeckFrench-suited playing cards

Spades (♠) (French: Pique) is one of the four playing card suits in the standard French-suited playing cards. It has the same shape as the leaf symbol in German-suited playing cards but its appearance is more akin to that of an upside down black heart with a stalk at its base. It symbolises the pike or halberd, two medieval weapons.

In bridge, spades rank as the highest suit. In skat and similar games, it is the second-highest suit.


The French name for this suit, Pique ("pike"), meant, in the 14th century, a weapon formed by an iron spike placed at the end of a pike.[1] In German it is known as Pik. It corresponds to the suit of leaves (Laub, Grün, Schippen or, in Bavaria, Gras) in the German-suited playing cards. In Switzerland, the suit is known as Schuufle ('shovel') and in many German regions, e.g., the Rhineland, as Schüppe/Schippe ('shovel').


The spade symbol is a very stylized spearhead shape, pointing upwards, the bottom widening into two arcs of a circle and sweeping towards the centre to then form a sort of foot.

Generally, spades are black. They form one of the two major suits in bridge (with hearts). In the official skat tournament deck, spades are green, assuming the color of their German-deck equivalent.

The following gallery shows the spades in a standard 52-card deck of French-suited playing cards. Not shown is the Knight of Spades used in Tarot card games:

Four-colour packs[edit]

The four aces of a Four-color deck; here, Spades are black

Four-color decks are sometimes used in tournaments or online.[2] In four-colour packs Spades may be:

  • black ♠ in English bridge and poker packs and French and Swiss four-colour packs,[3]
  • green ♠ in German skat tournament packs[4] or
  • blue ♠ in some American poker decks


The symbol ♠ is already in the computer code set CP437 and therefore also part of Windows WGL4. In Unicode a black ♠ and a white ♤ spade are defined:

Symbol Unicode Entity in HTML
U+2660 BLACK SPADE SUIT ♠ or ♠


  1. ^ "Pique". Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales.
  2. ^ Allan & Mackay 2007, p. 155.
  3. ^ Gallery 3 - Sizes, Shapes and Colours at Retrieved 4 Aug 2020.
  4. ^ Gallery 3 - Sizes, Shapes and Colours at Retrieved 4 Aug 2020.


  • Allan, Elkan and Hannah Mackay (2007). The Poker Encyclopedia. London: Portico. ISBN 978-1906-03209-8